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  • Writer's pictureRoberto Nieves

Review: Agent Intercept

Developer: PikPok

Publisher: PikPok

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4|5, Xbox Series X|S, PC (Steam)

It was the year 1983, and Bally Midway was the king of arcades. It was the year of many greats. The final episode of M*A*S*H aired, Luke partnered with Ewoks to fulfill his destiny in Return of the Jedi, and two of the biggest music stars on the planet were Phil Collins and The Police. In the sea of arcade booths, one stood out: Spyhunter. Greatly inspired by spy thrillers, James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Me, and even the Peter Gunn theme from the Blues Brothers, Spyhunter went on top become a Midway classic, dominating the charts in 1984, and went on to have a legacy that has continued to the present, including re-releases, a pinball spinoff, a remake for the PS2 featuring rock band Saliva on the soundtrack, and a new release in 2012 for the portable systems. There are traces of inspiration from Spyhunter in most action and vehicular games, but the newly released Agent Intercept is a direct homage to the classics of the spy genre. Making its leap from Apple Arcade to modern game consoles, Agent Intercept is not only a worthy throwback to arcade classics but an explosively enjoyable arcade game that is fantastic for all. An Agent’s work is never done. When the forces of CLAW emerge across the globe, It’s up to The Agency to secure world peace. To fight evildoers, you need tools, and the tools have to be outside the box. The Agency has created The Sceptre, the most advanced interceptor vehicle on the planet. Armed to the teeth with the latest technology and armaments, you are now the driver behind the Sceptre. With speed, skill, and a penchant for danger, the fate of the world rests in your hands.

Agent Intercept is an arcade action game inspired by Midway’s Spyhunter. Players play the role of an agent of the Agency, tasked with driving the Sceptre on a variety of dangerous missions. Players embark on a variety of missions with various objectives. The missions involve pursuing, intercepting, and destroying deadly weapons operated by CLAW. Each mission, however, is significantly different from the next, involving different scenarios and formations of missions. Throughout each mission, players pursue a variety of secondary objectives to achieve intel. One completed secondary equals one piece of intel. With each mission having multiple secondary objectives, there is plenty of replayability to each level. Completing levels unlocks score attacks for that level, and side missions can be unlocked. Additionally, for those that want to hone their skills and dominate the leaderboards, there's Target Practice. Those that want to focus more on beating the clock can access Time Trials. Finally, a bevy of new levels can be unlocked, appropriately called Side Missions. The Agency is a global entity, and you can bet that outside of the main campaign, there is always someone that has gotten dangerous enough to pursue legitimate world domination.

Agent Intercept is Spyhunter reincarnated, made into a 3D space with explosive action and colorful visuals, making it all the more entertaining and engaging to play. The world moves at a silky smooth framerate, never stuttering or stopping, and the changes in both view and scenery are always a delight. Controlling the Sceptre feels tight and refined, but it's the enemies that will give a strong challenge. Their appearance may be mostly non-threatening, but CLAW is dangerous in large numbers, from guns to rockets to mines and other cutting-edge weaponry. The enemy comes in numbers, but you are better behind the wheel than they are.

One of the signature trademarks of Agent Intercept are the transformation moments. Like the original Spyhunter, the Sceptre can transform into different modes, from rocky terrain to ice-covered highways to even a boat of the seas and a jet for the air. Transformations can happen anytime during a level, and the gameplay makes subtle but notable adjustments. It's different turning and driving on a muddy path than regular tarmac, and the jet sequence becomes an on-rails shooter akin to Star Fox. Each level in Agent Intercept is familiar and unpredictable, adding to the enjoyment. Complimenting all the arcade action is a fully-voiced cast, lending an impactful presence to the already strong atmosphere of 70s espionage thrillers.

Agent Intercept becomes a blast, especially in short bursts. It's an old-fashioned kind of gameplay that is straight and to the point. It's acute in its ability to deliver instant gaming satisfaction, from the gameplay to the 70s-style music to the amazing visuals. In one mission, players fight a helicopter. In another, they are chasing a submarine down a river. It's a remarkable and thrilling sensation that is quick and easy to play, a refreshingly new experience compared to other games. Not knocking on the bigger games, such as the newly -launched Xenoblade Chronicles 3, but sometimes, you just want to dig into a game right away and have a blast.

With the ease of play and reachability, Agent Intercept is a great way to introduce more casual players to video games, regardless of age. With the flexibility of controls and gameplay, anyone can come into Agent Intercept ready to roll. For newcomers, it is a great way to introduce game mechanics present in other games. How to control your protagonist, use different strategies to fight enemies, and learn how to win and achieve with every successful session. For experienced players, they'll have a blast mastering each level and competing on the leaderboards.

Agent Intercept is a solid game, but it doesn't last long. There is a multitude of missions, and the other game mode does leave plenty of replayability, but the experience is rather short. This is expected as the original game was originally exclusive to iOS platforms via Apple Arcade. Having double the amount of missions would have sweetened the deal. But as it stands, Agent Intercept is a blast and a refreshing update to an established formula that many more players can experience.

Agent Intercept was reviewed on the Xbox Series X thanks to a key generously supplied to Stack Up Dot Org by Stride PR.

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